Is ORBITZ playing games?

Old May 16, 12, 2:06 am
  #1  
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Is ORBITZ playing games?

Hi all! Earlier I posted about finding a great itinerary & airfare on ITA (three multi-city legs to/around Europe) for $1553. I was told on this forum that I was most likely going to find a matching itinerary/rate on ORBITZ (where I could actually book it). And, eventually, just as I had been advised, there was the same itinerary on ORBITZ for only $7 more than ITA!!! YES!!!

So I hit the "Select" button to book it and ... I got the message, "As flight availability can change rapidly based on traveler demand, the flight that you have selected is no longer available. Please make another selection." DARN -- just missed it!!!

So I selected a slightly different itinerary listed below (I can't be too choosey at this point) and ... I got the same message! I started over with another search (same cities/dates) ... and the above itineraries showed up again ... still at $1560! And once again, when I attempted to book them, I received the same message. The only thing I noticed was that if I clicked on the same itinerary 2-3 times, I received a different message, "We're sorry, the fare for that itinerary is no longer available. The fare for that trip is now $2,049.89." Kind of surprising since Delta, AirFrance & KLM were offering the same itinerary for nearly $300 less...

I phoned an ORBITZ phone rep and explained the above situation. She informed me that they must be doing an "update" and that I would have to pay the higher rate if I wanted to book those flights.

Hoping that they would eventually offer the $1560 rate again, a few hours later I tried again (even cleared all cookies from my computer) ... and I got the same results as above. A few hours later, the same results again. And the next day, the same results -- my search always pulled up my desired itinerary for $1560 but ORBITZ would not let me actually book it at that price! Their "update" sure was taking a LOOOONG time. I might add that during this time, ITA and Delta rates did not fluctuate.

I recently checked ITA and found that the airfare for my itinerary had just gone down $3 (now only $1550). So, obviously, I couldn't wait to check it out on ORBITZ ... and guess what -- they now had my itinerary for $3 less as well (now only $1557)!!! YES!!!

So I selected it and ... once again got the message about "flight availability can change rapidly based on traveler demand" and "the flight that you have selected is no longer available" Also -- when I selected the same itinerary a couple more times, I received the message letting me know that the actual rate was now $2,046.89 ... which is $3 less than the earlier price of $2,049.89 ... and once again $7 more than the current/new ITA price?!?

Are they playing with me or what?!? I've never used ORBITZ before and I only hope that they do not typically conduct business in this manner. It is great that they "match" ITA's itineraries/prices ... but does ORBITZ ever allow people to actually book at those rates?!?

Okay I'm obviously more than a little disgruntled ... but it appears to me that those low prices are only for "show" ... and that they really want you to pay hundreds of dollars more than you could get booking directly through the airlines. Perhaps there are enough people out there who actually fall for this "game"?

Or perhaps this is an isolated occurrence? Regardless, I'm not impressed. Looking forward to hearing what others have experienced...

Last edited by danle534; May 16, 12 at 2:12 am
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Old May 16, 12, 7:56 am
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Originally Posted by danle534 View Post
Hi all! Earlier I posted about finding a great itinerary & airfare on ITA (three multi-city legs to/around Europe) for $1553. I was told on this forum that I was most likely going to find a matching itinerary/rate on ORBITZ (where I could actually book it). And, eventually, just as I had been advised, there was the same itinerary on ORBITZ for only $7 more than ITA!!! YES!!!

So I hit the "Select" button to book it and ... I got the message, "As flight availability can change rapidly based on traveler demand, the flight that you have selected is no longer available. Please make another selection." DARN -- just missed it!!!

So I selected a slightly different itinerary listed below (I can't be too choosey at this point) and ... I got the same message! I started over with another search (same cities/dates) ... and the above itineraries showed up again ... still at $1560! And once again, when I attempted to book them, I received the same message. The only thing I noticed was that if I clicked on the same itinerary 2-3 times, I received a different message, "We're sorry, the fare for that itinerary is no longer available. The fare for that trip is now $2,049.89." Kind of surprising since Delta, AirFrance & KLM were offering the same itinerary for nearly $300 less...

I phoned an ORBITZ phone rep and explained the above situation. She informed me that they must be doing an "update" and that I would have to pay the higher rate if I wanted to book those flights.

Hoping that they would eventually offer the $1560 rate again, a few hours later I tried again (even cleared all cookies from my computer) ... and I got the same results as above. A few hours later, the same results again. And the next day, the same results -- my search always pulled up my desired itinerary for $1560 but ORBITZ would not let me actually book it at that price! Their "update" sure was taking a LOOOONG time. I might add that during this time, ITA and Delta rates did not fluctuate.

I recently checked ITA and found that the airfare for my itinerary had just gone down $3 (now only $1550). So, obviously, I couldn't wait to check it out on ORBITZ ... and guess what -- they now had my itinerary for $3 less as well (now only $1557)!!! YES!!!

So I selected it and ... once again got the message about "flight availability can change rapidly based on traveler demand" and "the flight that you have selected is no longer available" Also -- when I selected the same itinerary a couple more times, I received the message letting me know that the actual rate was now $2,046.89 ... which is $3 less than the earlier price of $2,049.89 ... and once again $7 more than the current/new ITA price?!?

Are they playing with me or what?!? I've never used ORBITZ before and I only hope that they do not typically conduct business in this manner. It is great that they "match" ITA's itineraries/prices ... but does ORBITZ ever allow people to actually book at those rates?!?

Okay I'm obviously more than a little disgruntled ... but it appears to me that those low prices are only for "show" ... and that they really want you to pay hundreds of dollars more than you could get booking directly through the airlines. Perhaps there are enough people out there who actually fall for this "game"?

Or perhaps this is an isolated occurrence? Regardless, I'm not impressed. Looking forward to hearing what others have experienced...
Have you tried another booking site like Kayak or Expedia? I have had these problems with Orbitz before, but I have been able to get it to work on another site.
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Old May 16, 12, 8:13 am
  #3  
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There are dozens of threads about the same thing with all the online ticket places. They don't check real time availability when they price out a ticket. It's when you click through to buy the ticket they actually go and see if there are any seats available at that price or not, and in your case, it's not.

Now they will all tell you that prices are changing all the time and it must have happened while you were on the site, but as you found out you can repeat it for days or weeks.

So no, they are not playing games, it's just how their system works.

It happens on Kayak too

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/onlin...lly-exist.html

and Delta

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/delta...card-info.html

and so on.
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Old May 16, 12, 9:43 am
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It is frustrating when this happens, but Orbitz is not playing games. The extra 7 dollars is the booking fee they charge for mixed carrier tickets. They donít charge this fee on single airline tickets so they can offer the same prices as the airline websites.

The reason Orbitz is usually the best place to find ITA fares is because Orbitz uses ITA as its search engine. ITA sometimes has problems with availability on international itineraries for some reason. Orbitz does not check availability until you click to purchase in order to keep search speeds high, so occasionally you have a frustrating search experience.
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Old May 16, 12, 9:54 am
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Originally Posted by Aliquot View Post
It is frustrating when this happens, but Orbitz is not playing games. The extra 7 dollars is the booking fee they charge for mixed carrier tickets. They donít charge this fee on single airline tickets so they can offer the same prices as the airline websites.
The price difference was $490, not just $7
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Old May 16, 12, 1:43 pm
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I certainly wasn't complaining about the extra $7 they were charging (I'm all for businesses making a profit and a petty $7 fee seems far more than reasonable). I do find it distasteful that they continually show that un-bookable airfare -- though I now have a much better understanding of why. But when they spit out that huge rate increase (much more than the airlines are asking), well, it really ticked me off!

And here we have yet another day, and, those $1557 rates are still showing on ORBITZ. Still not able to book that rate there ... and still eventually get an updated airfare of $2046.99 (actually that has gone up 10-cents???). I think that I'll do myself a favor and will just give up on ORBITZ.

It seems to me that ORBITZ (and KAYAK, etc.) must like these mock "lower rates" showing up on their sites ... after all, they must be aware of the problem and yet they just leave them there for all to see. It would certainly be rather easy for their tech department to set up their systems to remove bogus rates once they are found be be invalid ... but they don't...

I would LOVE to try their technique in a retail establishment (or a retail website) ... "Gee, I'm soooo sorry. This shirt that you want (clearly marked at $40) is no longer available due to customer demand. But if you really want that shirt, I can sell it to you for only $70 (even though you could walk next door and purchase the same shirt for only $45)." I'm guessing that my retail establishment would not be around for very long. Nor am I sure about the legality either ...

Oh, well ... live and learn. I'm new to all these "airfare tips & secrets", and thanks to this forum, I'm learning!

Last edited by danle534; May 16, 12 at 2:14 pm
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Old May 16, 12, 2:12 pm
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Also -- should I also completely give up on finding a travel agent to book that ITA itinerary/fare (using the "fare construction" codes)?
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Old May 16, 12, 2:14 pm
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Stores do it all the time, it's why so many states had to put in scanner laws for when the price of an item on the shelf or on the item is less than what their system scans them at. They know most people will pick up that block of feta cheese for $2.99 and either not notice or not make an issue of it when it scans for $4.99.

The rest of us would line up for our free block of cheese every time we shopped (we get one for free with a pricing mistake up to a $20 item, some states you get five times the difference up to a buck, etc).

The travel sites are doing the same, they know to draw people in with the low rates, and maybe they will stay when they realize it's not a rate they can actually book.

It is not a problem, they could easily fix it if they wanted to. It's a technique they use to get people to go to their site and keep checking.
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Old May 16, 12, 2:54 pm
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I fully agree about grocery stores occasionally ringing up wrong prices (probably do it intentionally). But the grocery stores actually "make good" on their pricing errors when they are pointed out. ORBITZ (also likely using this "technique" intentionally), not only refuses to honor their prices, but rather, on the same webpage where they are still displaying the lower fares, have the audacity to offer the itinerary for a lot more money than the airlines charge! And they certainly don't offer the flights for free!!! LOL!!!

"To-may-to", "to-mau-to" ... "technique", "game" ... really just seems like the same BS to me...

Last edited by danle534; May 16, 12 at 3:01 pm
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Old Jul 14, 13, 10:31 pm
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Crap, this just happened to me. I was tracking a fare on Orbitz, and it was showing around $950, for several days. Today when I finally clicked select, the price jumped up to $1500.
This is happening on all dates, where the itin involves Qatar.

Darn.
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Old Jul 14, 13, 10:38 pm
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The opposite can happy too: a fare I found on ITA showed for the same price on Orbitz, but when I clicked through to enter my cc details Orbitz reported back that in fact the fare had dropped by a little.

Moral of the story: Don't assume that ITA is always correct. They don't check real time fares either.
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Old May 4, 14, 1:03 pm
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Orbitz being dishonest

The exact same thing happened to me yesterday and today with ORBITZ (05/04/2014) when trying to buy a ticket to South America. I was told the exact same thing and was also told they would make sure to "look into it" when they know this happens all the time. What a BIG WASTE OF TIME!!! I WILL NEVER USE ORBITZ AGAIN, THEY WERE MY "TO GO SEARCH ENGINE," BUT NOT ANYMORE.
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Old Jan 8, 19, 12:58 pm
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Agree, and it's happened to me.

It is a very deceptive practice by Orbitz, frustrating and a huge waste of time for consumers.

I'm giving up on Orbitz.
Better to just book direct or through a reliable agent.
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Old Jan 8, 19, 2:02 pm
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Originally Posted by Dieuwer View Post
The opposite can happy too: a fare I found on ITA showed for the same price on Orbitz, but when I clicked through to enter my cc details Orbitz reported back that in fact the fare had dropped by a little.

Moral of the story: Don't assume that ITA is always correct. They don't check real time fares either.
This. ORBITZ is displaying what ITA offers, right? What makes you think EVERYTHING on ITA is actually bookable? That is certainly NOT my experience... Perhaps you should reserve some (most?) of your angst for them???
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